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Flight Test Operator



Esparto, CA, USA
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2023

About Zipline

Do you want to change the world? Zipline is on a mission to transform the way goods move. Our aim is to solve the world’s most urgent and complex access challenges by building, manufacturing and operating the first instant delivery and logistics system that serves all humans equally, wherever they are. From powering Rwanda’s national blood delivery network and Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, to providing on-demand home delivery for Walmart, to enabling healthcare providers to bring care directly to U.S. homes, we are transforming the way things move for businesses, governments and consumers. The technology is complex but the idea is simple: a teleportation service that delivers what you need, when you need it. Through our technology that includes robotics and autonomy, we are decarbonizing delivery, decreasing road congestion, and reducing fossil fuel consumption and air pollution, while providing equitable access to billions of people and building a more resilient global supply chain.
Join Zipline and help us to make good on our promise to build an equitable and more resilient global supply chain for billions of people.

About You and The Role

As a Flight Test Operator, you will have the critical task of testing the new and existing systems we build and operate in order to ensure that we are developing safe and reliable systems. This may include preflighting and launching aircraft, doing repair and maintenance work on aircraft and ground systems, and performing tests on new hardware and software. You will be working to improve the process, building and testing of prototypes for our next-generation tech, and collecting data of various types. You will also be expected to provide detailed technical feedback and ideas to engineering and operations teams on how to make our existing and future systems safer and smarter. Your work will directly improve the reliable availability of medical products and supplies for patients at the hospitals and health centers that Zipline serves across the world.

What You'll Do

  • Fly - Assembling, preflighting, launching, and recovering unmanned aircraft in order to test and optimize Zipline's operational systems and validate new engineering changes as well as software and hardware in the early stages of development.
  • Maintain - Maintaining the existing fleet of aircraft and ground equipment, as well as maintaining new systems we are building for function-specific flight tests.
  • Test - Running tests to validate system improvements, new technology for performance and design validation, and new processes.
  • Certify - Performing tests and demonstrations related to US FAA Type Certification.
  • Improve - Looking for opportunities to continuously improve our processes, safety protocols, our hardware and software, and make operations easier and more efficient for operations centers around the world. You will be called upon to provide detailed feedback to design engineers.
  • Grow - Supporting Zipline's efforts to scale our operations to hundreds of distribution centers around the world.
  • Travel - Supporting flight operations at different test sites as needed. You may also do up to 25% domestic and international travel, surveying sites or training new flight operators on best practices.
    • For certain roles, you will be responsible for identifying and scouting sites for field data collection campaigns in support of multiple teams and goals.
  • Schedule - Flexibility to work an array of schedule structures including, but not limited to: day, swing, nights, weekends, rotational.

What You'll Bring

This role is right for you if:

  • You enjoy work that gets you out from behind a desk, in the field, and working with our hardware and software in action.
  • You have experience in commercial aviation or aviation maintenance (an A&P is not required but nice to have).
    • You may have prior flight test or hobbyist flight experience with Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones, remote control aircraft, etc).
  • You enjoy troubleshooting and are comfortable with electromechanical build and repair projects.
  • You’re excited to work outdoors, at an open-air hangar in the rugged foothills of Northern California, and would be happy doing so for about 85% of the day.
  • You thrive in an autonomous, unpredictable, and dynamic environment where you identify what needs to happen and get it done with very little oversight.
  • You have the vigilance and focus to conduct extended daily flight operations in a safe manner and with a focus on optimizing on a daily basis.
  • You lead by example, and enjoy the satisfaction of collaborating with a dedicated team on a common goal.
  • You have great writing skills and don't let failures or progress go undocumented.
  • You are meticulous and process-oriented by nature.
  • You are able to lift up to 25kg objects regularly.

Additional preferred experience includes:

  • You have some experience with Unix/Linux based operating systems (command line experience is a strong plus).
  • You have experience with camera systems, surveying, and aerial photography.
  • You are excited about regularly traveling domestically and internationally.

What Else You Need to Know

Please note that you:

Must be willing to work some nights/weekends.
Must be a US citizen or Permanent Resident.
Must be able to either (1) relocate to Yolo County, CA, (2) be willing and able to do extensive travel for data collection operations.

The starting cash range for this role is $28 - $38 / hour. Please note that this is a target, starting cash range for a candidate who meets the minimum qualifications for this role. The final cash pay for this role will depend on a variety of factors, including a specific candidate's experience, qualifications, skills, working location, and projected impact. The total compensation package for this role may also include: equity compensation; overtime pay; discretionary annual or performance bonuses; sales incentives; benefits such as medical, dental and vision insurance; paid time off; and more.

Zipline is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws or our own sensibilities.
We value diversity at Zipline and welcome applications from those who are traditionally underrepresented in tech. If you like the sound of this position but are not sure if you are the perfect fit, please apply!